Can Particulates Irradiated by the Sun Help Prevent and Treat Respiratory Infections?

Can Particulates Irradiated by the Sun Help Prevent and Treat Respiratory Infections

It has become evident that up to 80% of hospital admissions for Covid-19 are vitamin D deficient and it has also been found that there is a 15 times greater chance of death from Covid-19 if one is vitamin D deficient. 

Vitamin D deficiency may occur if one does not receive enough ultraviolet sun exposure  over an extended period and from a lack vitamin D in the diet, poor absorption, or having a  metabolic need for higher amounts. 

So, if someone is vitamin D deficient, we can assume that they have not had sufficient exposure to the sun, allowing for the natural production of vitamin D to meet their needs. This is one of the reasons Vitamin D is often referred to as the “Sunshine Vitamin”. 

We can therefore deduce that the vast majority of Covid-19 hospital admissions, ie those with a vitamin D deficiency, have had little to no exposure to sunlight. 

What is it about sunlight that significantly reduces the chances of admission to hospitals for Covid-19? Is there something about vitamin D that inactivates or suppresses the virus? Alternatively, is there something else about sunlight which interferes with the viruses and or its ability to cause harm? 

Whereas doctors are currently prescribing vitamin D, amongst a cocktail of drugs, to help treat Covid-19, this article will shed some “light” on how and why sunlight may be playing an even more important role than vitamin D in suppressing and destroying viruses. 

It has recently been found that the risk of transmission of the Coronavirus is 20 times higher indoors than outdoors, which further points to the potential positive effect of the sun. Sunlight and ultraviolet (UV) in particular is a natural virucide and the primary germicide in the environment against viruses and bacteria. 

When you look at the sky you are looking at more than just air. There are also billions of tiny bits of solid and liquid floating in the atmosphere. Those tiny floating particles are called aerosols or particulates which are mostly invisible to the eye. There are hundreds and thousands of little aerosols in each cubic centimeter of air. Some of them are natural and others are pollutants. Natural sources of aerosols include dust from dry regions that is blown by the wind, particles released by erupting volcanoes or forest fires and salt from the ocean. 

Sunlight when passing through air will irradiate aerosols and particulates which are suspended in the air. During the day these particles will be in equilibrium, absorbing the sun’s energy while re-radiating an equal amount of energy. In the same vain, if one places a poker into a fire, it will start glowing red, whereupon it reaches a point of equilibrium where the poker is absorbing as much energy as it discharges.

Particulates in the air that are exposed to sunlight absorb radiant energy much like the red hot poker. When the particulates are inhaled into the respiratory tract and out of direct sunlight, they will continue to emit radiation, albeit for a brief period at a longer wavelength, i.e. much like the red hot poker when it is removed from the fire, where it will continue to glow thereafter for some time. 

The energy emitted by the particulates will primarily be in the form of long wave radiation, within the infra-red (IR) spectrum, which is not nearly as effective as short wave UV radiation in interfering with and destroying viruses. 

However, the longer wave IR radiation can be effective, if the virus is subjected to IR radiation at a high intensity for a longer duration. 

The intensity of radiation increases exponentially as one approaches the source. The irradiated particulates (source) will come into close contact with viruses in the respiratory tract, magnifying the intensity of radiation considerably. This will be compounded by the large number of particulates in the air, which are continually being replenished with each breath. 

Therefore if a person is in sunlight for a number of hours, viruses in the respiratory tract will be bombarded and exposed to particulate re-radiation over a relatively long period, which may be sufficient to interfere and destroy a small fraction of the virus. 

The fragments of the destroyed virus create a safe, autogenous vaccination-like response. This further activates and directs your immune system to the specific virus your body is attempting to overcome. The net result is the induction of a secondary kill of these infecting virus throughout the entire body. In other words, destroying only a small fraction of the virus within the respiratory tract, will induce a beneficial systemic response throughout. 

It could also be possible that emissions from inhaled particulates will radiate in the infrared  spectra which may have a therapeutic effect in reducing lung inflammation, lung fibrosis,  pneumonia, acute respiratory disorders, and other severe complications of coronavirus  infections 

This article details a hypothesis and is not intended to be a scientific paper. 

The Covid-19 virus differs substantially from other coronaviruses and mostly resembled related viruses found in bats and pangolins. It is thought to have evolved into its current pathogenic state in a bat before being passed into humans through an intermediary Pangolin. 

Both bats and pangolins are nocturnal mammals. Bats will sleep during the day in caves and dark areas away from sunlight and pangolins sleep in burrows at the end of narrow tunnels about 1.65m long with a calabash like chamber at the end. During the day, the tunnel is closed with earth when occupied. 

If it is a dark environment in which the virus has evolved, then it may be deduced the virus has not adapted or is not conditioned to survive in an environment where sunlight is present?

It is claimed that UV radiation from the sun is the primary germicide in the environment in a paper published by the American Society for Microbiology. Sunlight or more specifically, UV radiation kills viruses by chemically modifying their genetic material, DNA and RNA. Nucleic acids are damaged also by both UVB and UVA but with lower efficiency than by UVC radiation. UV radiation is more effective when acting on single strand RNA (as occurs in the coronavirus) and DNA as opposed to double stranded RNA and DNA. 

So if we could get UV into the respiratory tract, could we kill viruses within? This would be problematic as UV light cannot bend to follow the respiratory pathways. Moreover the cells in the respiratory tract have no protection against UV exposure and would likely succumb to malignant tumors and cancers. 

But perhaps this process is already occurring naturally, but at a lower intensity, such that the respiratory cells can and do withstand a lower level radiation and are not damaged? As mentioned we breath in millions and millions of aerosols and particulates during the day, which can range in size from 2 – 100 microns. When outside in the sun, these particles are irradiated by UV. The particles having absorbed UV radiant energy are in an excited state and when inhaled, will re-radiate the absorbed energy, primarily at longer wavelengths, which can obviously be tolerated by the cell lining of the respiratory tract and membranes. The intensity of the radiation is proportional to the inverse of the square of the distance between the source (irradiated particulate) and the object (virus). Therefore due to the close proximity of the source i.e. the near contact of the irradiated particulates to the virus, the intensity on a microscale may be significant. In other words, the relative high intensity of the long wave radiation over an extended period of exposure, may be sufficient such that the cumulative effect might interfere and destroy single strand DNA or RNA viruses or other infecting agents. 

Using electron microscopy, researchers have determined the diameter of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to range between 60 and 140 nanometers. If we then take the average diameter of the virus to be 100nm and assume the particulates are rounded with an average diameter of 50 000nm (i.e. between 2-100 microns in size), then the particulates are some 500 times larger in diameter. This equates to the particulates (source) being some 125 million times greater in volume that the virus. In comparison, the sun is just over 1 million times the volume of earth. It is therefore conceivable that radiation from a source of such relative magnitude in near proximity to the virus would be harmful to the virus. 

Long wave radiation penetrates much deeper into biological tissue that does short wave radiation. Infrared radiation penetrates some 5mm in tissue, which means that is not inconceivable that the re-radiation from a particulate may penetrate blood vessels and capillaries in close proximity to the respiratory membrane and may also interfere with killing agents or viruses in the blood. 

Emerging data shows that radiation in the infrared spectra can reduce lung inflammation,  lung fibrosis, pneumonia, acute respiratory disorders, and other severe complications of  coronavirus infections. In fact, ARD is a major cause of death in every coronavirus  pandemic, including the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic. IR radiation emissions from  inhaled particulates which penetrate into the tissue may very well have a therapeutic and  beneficial effect in treating lung inflammation, pneumonia, ARD and other complications. 

Prior to the discovery of antibiotics in the 1950’s, open air therapy was commonly used to treat respiratory tract infections. During open air therapy, a patient is exposed to sunlight. 

Records from the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic suggest open air therapy for dealing with influenza was effective. Put simply, medics found that severely ill flu patients nursed outdoors recovered better than those treated indoors. A combination of fresh air and sunlight seems to have prevented deaths among patients; and infections among medical staff. There is scientific support for this. 

Could UV lights be placed in a room to emulate the sun’s (UV) radiation? 

UV radiation is widely used in industrial processes and in medical and dental practices for a variety of purposes. Different UV wavelengths and intensities are used for different purposes from sun tanning beds to phototherapy lamps. If we are to emulate the sun’s effect on earth then we want to avoid the really short wavelength UVC, with a mix of 5% UVB and 95%UVA and control the intensity according to the UV index we wish to replicate e.g. 10 for summer in Greece or 13 for the equator. Obviously one must be careful to protect the eyes and skin when exposed to a high UV index especially if the application is for example in a hospital ward. 

Another thought is to incorporate a UV chamber into a ventilator and allow particulates in the intake air to be irradiated, immediately prior to being delivered to the patient (or something similar with assisted oxygen). For this to work effectively, it may be necessary to remove any intake filter, so as to allow particulates into the system or to find a way to introduce a special particulates which preform optimally. The filter on a ventilator is designed to remove bacteria which could cause harm to the lungs, but in this case the bacteria would be destroyed in the UV chamber. (One would also have to consider whether to humidify the intake air and if so how best so as not render the particulates ineffective.) 

Ultraviolet Blood Irradiation (UBI) 

UBI is a procedure whereby a small amount of blood is removed and exposed to UV, before being reintroduced back into the bloodstream to heighten the body’s immune response and to kill infections. With exposure to UV light, bacteria and viruses in your bloodstream absorb five times as much photonic energy as do your red and white blood cells. 

The fragments of the killed infecting agents create a safe, autogenous vaccination-like response. This further activates and directs your immune system to the specific infections your body is attempting to overcome. The net result is the induction of a secondary kill of these infecting agents throughout the entire body. Treating only 35 cc of blood with UBI induces a beneficial systemic response. 

If it has been shown that the fragments of the killed infecting agents by UBI create a safe, autogenous vaccination-like response, which further activates and directs your immune system to the specific infections your body is attempting to overcome, then could it also be applicable to viruses within the respiratory system, when bombarded by radiant emissions from inhaled irradiated particulates? In other words, if only treating a small fraction of the virus induces a beneficial systematic response, then this mechanism could help explain the success of sunlight therapy. 

So if you are suffering from colds or flu, why not try and spend a few hours outside in the sun, instead of recouping in bed during the day away from sunlight? Midday hours would be best as that is when the sun is most intense (UV and IR penetrate through cloud, so it can also be effective on overcast days). Note: colds and flu are more prevalent in winter months when people spend more time indoors sheltering from the cold weather and have less exposure to sunlight. 

Contrary to Covid-19 protocol, it is suggested that one should not wear a mask when outdoors, as a mask may restrict or prevent the inhalation of irradiated particulates (… in which case when not wearing a mask, one should practice social distancing.) 

If you are concerned about sunburn, then cover or protect your skin from harmful UV. At worst, when your skin is exposed to sunlight / UV, it produces Vitamin D from cholesterol. Vitamin D is known to enhance the function of the immune cells and is necessary for the proper functioning of your immune system, which is your bodies first line of defense against infection and diseases. 

Who knows? Sunlight may be the most cost effective prevention and treatment for colds, flu and Covid-19… 

Maybe there is something in all of this for further investigation? Perhaps this could be best explained by the quantum theory of radiation? Alternatively experiments could be conducted comparing chambers, which simulate breathing and have a means to “inhale  and exhale” i.e. expand and contract. One set would “inhale” air exposed to sunlight and  the other set, air from a dark room. The radiant energy within each set of chambers could  be measured to establish the effect. A study could also be conducted to establish the  effect on viruses and bacteria introduced into each set of chambers. 

Furthermore, a study should also be undertaken to establish the relationship between prior  exposure to sunlight and the severity of Covid-19 (and not just look at vitamin D deficiency  as a yardstick). The effect of sun therapy on the rate at which a patient recovers from  Covid-19 should also be evaluated. Both in terms of the effect on the virus and or the  therapeutic benefit from particulate IR radiant emissions. In the event that such findings show a significant positive and beneficial effect of sunlight, it may be prudent to re-evaluate how ventilators and assisted oxygen is applied, so as to find a way to incorporate  irradiated particulates. 

Perhaps we should not be enforcing “lockdown” but rather “lockout” to control the spread of the disease. People should be encouraged to spend more time outdoors rather than indoors in ‘light’ of the findings, which show transmission of Covid-19 is 20 times higher indoors. One should be discourage from attending gatherings held indoors away from  natural sunlight such as in bars, clubs, cinemas, churches, synagogues, mosques and  other places of worship, offices, conference centers, shopping malls, events held at night and the like. Spaces and enclosed areas that are ventilated with recycled air or those with  air conditioning should also be avoided. 

Neil C Hellmann email: [email protected]


  1. There is no reason to believe that an inactivated virus particle is more immunogenic than the intact virus particle.
    Can you give us references to studies of infrared irradiation inactivating a viral particle by any other mechanism than HEAT?

    1. Huang, W.; Li, E. Instability of Nucleic Acids in Airborne Microorganisms under Far Infrared Radiation. Preprints 2020, 2020020332 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202002.0332.v1) ABSTRACT: Emergence of zoonotic-human pathogens is proven to be a lethal threat to public health, and RNA virus including influenza viruses, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus, middle east respiratory syndrome coronavirus, Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19), plays a pivotal role. As those viruses as airborne microorganisms spread mainly by tiny airborne particles, it is important to de-active those airborne particles before their entry into human bodies. In this study, we investigated the effect of far infrared (FIR) radiation on inhibition of airborne microorganisms. The result confirmed that double stand DNA from airborne microorganisms were stable under mild FIR radiation. However, single strand RNA from them was found to be sensitive to FIR radiation, indicating that RNA virus in airborne particles is instable under FIR radiation. Based on this observation, two models on usage of FIR radiation to prevent RNA virus transmission and cure RNA virus infection were proposed, implying that FIR radiation might be a cheap, convenient, and efficient method in clinic to treat RNA virus.